International news within the industry of mining and metal, Jul, 17 2019
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Bus manufacturer to reduce the use of cobalt in battery production.

Japan Airlines Boeing 787 lithium cobalt oxide battery that caught fire in 2013. Photo; Wikipedia-National Transportation Safety Board
Japan Airlines Boeing 787 lithium cobalt oxide battery that caught fire in 2013. Photo; Wikipedia-National Transportation Safety Board
Published by
Markku Björkman - 23 Jan 2019

Bus manufacturer BYD is one of the world's largest manufacturers of batteries and is obviously about to reduce the use of cobalt in battery production.

Even today, the company does not use cobalt in lithium-iron phosphate batteries used in BYD's electric buses. At the same time, work is being done to reduce the use of cobalt even in the nickel-magnesium NMC batteries.

BYD is making great progress in Europe and has received orders for more than 100 electric buses from Nordic countries and a total of 600 from Europe.

While the electric bus boom continues in Europe, more and more people are at least annoyed at the situation in the Congo, where one of the ingredients for battery production is extracted. Children are used as slaves and domestic warfare is underway to enable exports of cobalt from the country.

BYD is one of the largest in the world in battery production. This applies to everything between mobile phones and electric buses, which we take to and from work.

The factory, which is also a major manufacturer of electric cars, buses and trucks, has strict rules for where the raw material for their battery production comes from.

- Some of the batteries we produce contain cobalt, especially for nickel-magnesium batteries. We are aware that several of our customers are concerned about how our cobalt is extracted. But we can assure everyone that BYD's suppliers of cobalt follow strict rules and take responsibility. We do not use children in our battery production, not even where the raw materials are extracted, says Isbrand Ho to the Danish Bus magazine.

He understands that spotlight has now been directed at just Kolbolt. Especially after the Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege, the problem on the agenda took place during the 2018 peace prize ceremony in Oslo. There, Mukwege pointed out that his country is falling apart due to the civil war and through the ruthless struggle for the cobalt in the mines.

Ho emphasizes that BYD is in the process of reducing and preferably removing the use of cobalt in their battery production. Today BYD does not use cobalt in lithium-iron phosphate batteries found in the company's electric buses.

- We focus on where we get the raw material for our batteries and also follow all the rules. During the extraction, we only use mechanical mining to minimize the environmental impact or damage to the environment.

In BYD's lithium-iron phosphate batteries used in our electric buses, there is no cobalt. And we are working to reduce the amount of cobalt in our nickel-magnesium NMC batteries, explains Ho.

20 years in Europe

BYD Europe BV, which has its head office in Rotterdam, celebrates the company's 20th anniversary in Europe. BYD's factory is today one of the largest in battery production and also large in the production of cars, forklifts, buses and trucks.

Regarding electric buses, of which the company has sold about 600 in Europe alone, BYD has over 20 per cent of the market shares in Europe.